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Not Your Father’s Circus: Le Cirque Feerique (The Fairy Circus)

by Karen Tortora-Lee on May 13, 2010

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COMPANY XIV (photo by Cristina Ramirez Hirst)

Can you die from too much beauty?  Probably not.  But if you could, I came close to doing so as I watched Company XIV “A mixed media Neo-Baroque dance-theatre  company” spin  Le Cirque Féerique (The Fairy Circus) into being in front of my dazzled eyes last weekend.  The show consists of a series of fairy tales choreographed and directed by Austin McCormick, written and adapted by Austin McCormick and Jeff Takacs, and conceived by Austin McCormick and Zane Pihlstrom and runs till June 6th.

In an unassuming building on Bond Street in Brooklyn where Company XIV makes their home you will find the most unusual matrix of Music, Mystery, and Magic.  That’s right, I said Brooklyn.  And hold on to your hats, folks, because in the next few paragraphs I’m also going to say things akin to “Frog Prince”, “Madonna”, “Cinderella”, “Carmen”, and “Balloons”.  Yes – it’s THAT kind of show.

First of all, for all you scaredy cats who think you can’t haul your cookies (and your kids, and your kid’s cookies) into Brooklyn to see something unique, unusual, flirty, coquettish and fizzy-fun that still manages to be family-rated I beg you to please just shut up for a second.   Laziness like that is what led to half our youth’s addiction to video games . . . that is when they’re not washing down teenage vampire chronicles with a Justin Bieber chaser.

Cirque Feerique

Company XIV (Photo Cristina Ramirez)

Second of all, this is a show that other shows WISH they could be.   Company XIV whips up a confection so delectable that there’s an actual ache when the show is over.  Like Rumpelstiltskin (whose story they don’t take on, unfortunately) McCormick and company turns straw into gold . . . and satin . . . and things that sparkle and shine and swivel and clink and pop and twirl and thump and sneer and cavort and transcend.

One half of this show fits like a classic Chanel suit that never goes out of style and the other half  fits like that next fabulously hot new phenom about to be birth from Project Runway – so trendy that they’re six minutes away from being on someone’s “five minutes ago” list.  Throw everything you ever imagined Fairy Tales could be into a blender, add a dash of peacock feathers, a shot glass of strawberry milkshake, deck everyone out in wigs, velvet, sequins, opulence, danger, bonbons, and  the essence of Vegas.  Drained it of anything that smacks of tacky and filled it back up with everything that dazzles and you’re only beginning to understand what Le Circque Féerique will do to you.

To paraphrase Lady Gaga – They Left Me Speechless.  And while we’re quoting the Queen of the Disco Stick there’s no better way to watch Little Red Riding Hood get gobbled up by the big bad wolf than to the throbbing beat of Monster (don’t worry, Moms and Dads, the song is warbled by the  Baroque Opera Trio Charities [beautifully bedecked in burgundy ball gowns] so the more salacious words are trilled so sweetly that it might as well be a song about kittens).

photo by Cristina Ramirez Hirst

So, basically – beautiful dancing, check.  Amazing, mind blowing choreography by Austin McCormick – check.  Children’s favorites like Princess and The Pea (with an Indian flair), The Ugly Duckling, Cinderella (with Madonna’s Like A Prayer carrying it along  . . . right to Sinatra’s “Last Dance”), check.  A ringleader in Jeff Takacs who keeps things rolling along in the form of fast jokes, crazy sight gags, and corny tunes, check.  A trio of lovely singers who can sing Carmen as easily as they can sing top 40 hits – check.  And all those stories you think you know inside out . . . told in a way that turns them, well  . . . inside out. Check and check.

photo by Cristina Ramirez Hirst

Oh, Company XIV  . . . one last Gaga quote and I’m out: I’m your biggest fan – I’ll follow you until you love me.  Please keep doing shows like this -  and I’ll keep telling everyone one I know to come see you.

Company XIV presents: Le Cirque Féerique from Austin McCormick on Vimeo.

The Company XIV ensemble consists of Marisol Cabrera, Laura Careless, Yeva Glover, Gioia Marchese, Austin McCormick, Davon Rainey and Jeff Takacs. The Charites Baroque Opera Trio includes Brooke Bryant, Brett Umlauf and Amber Youell. The design team consists of Zane Pihlstrom (Set & Costume Design) and Gina Scherr (Lighting Design). Le Cirque Féerique is sponsored by MAC Cosmetics.


Le Cirque Féerique (The Fairy Circus)
Choreographed and Directed by Austin McCormick
Written and adapted by Austin McCormick and Jeff Takacs
Conceived by Austin McCormick and Zane Pihlstrom
Performances are Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm and Sundays at 2pm and 5pm
Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for children 16 and under, students and seniors
Running time is 1 hour and 30 minutes. Capacity is 100 seats. Trains: F or G to Carroll Street.
To purchase tickets and for more information visit
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Rogue SpywareNo Gravatar July 24, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I’m really glad you metioned it was family rated. It does indeed sound like a wonderful night out, a breakaway from the usual out to dinner or movies, or Chuck E. Cheese. From your description it sounds like the whole family — yes even kids — will enjoy it.

You wrote a great review.

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